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Creating Opportunities with Diabetes

Jan 29, 2016
Katie DoyleGuest blogger, Katie Doyle, is a writer based in Park City, UT. She chronicles her travels and experiences while living with Type 1 diabetes.


H

appy New Year, AADE community! 

I’ve been writing about my travels via the AADE blog for just over a year now, and it seems like there’s always something new and exciting to talk about!

I lived in New Zealand for the majority of the past year (where, as you may recall, I went skydiving and snorkeling while wearing my insulin pump—they wouldn’t let me wear it bungee jumping or canyon swinging, though, something about it being a hazard that would hurt me if it came unclipped). It taught me a lot about how I can reconcile my life with diabetes and the intensity with which I live it.


There’s power in choosing to do something because I want to, instead of because I have to.


I embraced last November’s Diabetes Awareness month while visiting my sister in Jordan, where I tested my blood sugar while floating in the Dead Sea, just because I could. There’s power in choosing to do something because I want to (or because it’s a good photo op) instead of because I have to. In such a short time, I feel as though I’ve learned so much about how I see myself, and how my peers see themselves, as people with diabetes: it’s remarkable how much value we place on what we should be doing. For instance, after naming the extreme sports above, I still have a small voice in the back of my head that says, “Yeah, you did that stuff, but your A1c still isn’t where you want it to be!”

I have gotten much better at ignoring that voice, and I think it’s important to remind all people with diabetes that this condition is something that can create opportunities.


2015 International Diabetes Federation Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme

I just love to visit this most beautiful place in all the world. In December, the 2015 International Diabetes Federation Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme was held in Vancouver, Canada, for one week before the World Diabetes Congress. The YLD Programme brings together young people from 18 to 30, from over 100 different countries, providing training and support for the young leaders to complete projects within our local IDF member organizations to benefit both the local and global diabetes community.

The impact of this event cannot be overstated. I was honored to be sponsored by AADE to attend, and it is difficult to describe how incredibly empowered I felt when I left Vancouver. During the two weeks we spent getting to know each other, we developed a network of brilliant, enthusiastic, ambitious advocates for change in the diabetes world. We talked with each other about ways to get diabetes supplies to those who need them the most. We heard speakers like Kerri Sparling of SixUntilMe.com and so many other impressive figures whom I really admire. We met with leaders who wanted to hear our thoughts on healthcare policy and diabetes advocacy.

My peers had some of the most powerful stories of all—reminders of how diabetes weaves itself into each of our lives in very different ways. I’m now in the process of developing my YLD project, so stay tuned for more details!

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